After more than two years of toying with the idea, former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced on Thursday he is running for president in 2020. Biden, who will turn 78 two weeks after the 2020 presidential election, is joining a crowded field of Democratic candidates — the most diverse cohort of presidential hopefuls in history.
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said in his announcement video Thursday. “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
The announcement comes just a few weeks after at least seven women said Biden had behaved inappropriately toward them in mostly professional settings. Some of the allegations include smelling one woman's hair and kissing the back of her head, putting his hand on another's thigh, and grabbing a woman's face and pulling it close as though he was about to kiss her on the mouth.
Biden, who was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and served as President Barack Obama's second-in-command for eight years, has ran for president twice before. His first White House bid, which he launched in 1987, lasted a few months due to a plagiarism scandal. The second time was during the 2008 presidential election, but he failed to gain traction compared to then-Sens. Obama and Hillary Clinton. Biden's decision to try a third time reportedly has a lot to do with regretting he didn't run in the 2016 presidential election, due to the death of his son, former Delaware attorney general Beau Biden.
Despite the fact that Biden just launched his presidential bid, he has long been a frontrunner in the polls and has a broad base of supporters who see him as the one who can take on President Donald Trump in the general election. According to The Atlantic, Biden's team is betting on a middle-of-the-road approach that will differentiate him from at least a dozen of contenders who stand to his left. His biggest rival at the moment is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who currently has support with 15 to 20% of primary voters. The electorate that sits in the center, however, is ripe for the taking, his team strategizes. Biden's long record of public service has been extensively scrutinized, and now that he has officially launched his campaign, more questions are likely to come.